White House, GOP discuss potential debt limit pact

By the Associated Press | July 31, 2011 | 5:14 AM EDT

In this image from Senate television Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, speaks from the floor of the Senate late Saturday, July 30, 2011, at the Capitol in Washington. "There are many elements to be finalized...there is still a distance to go," Reid cautioned in dramatic late-night remarks on the Senate floor. Still, his disclosure that "talks are going on at the White House now," coupled with his saying progress had been made, offered the strongest indication yet that a default might be averted.(AP Photo/Senate Television)

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House officials and congressional Republicans are discussing a potential agreement that could end their bitter debt limit showdown. The hope is that a deal can be completed by Tuesday to avert a possible government default.

Officials speaking on condition of anonymity say the White House and GOP are discussing a plan to raise the government's debt ceiling by about $2.4 trillion, enough to last through next year. There would be slightly larger spending cuts enacted in two stages, and a promise to vote on a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget.

After weeks of sharply partisan conflict, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says there are signs of cooperation and compromise. The Nevada Democrat said late Saturday that the two sides are still tying down loose ends.